Chemistry is one of the biggest determining factors in whether an offensive line is going to succeed or not. If linemen cannot rely on each other and know where to expect their teammates to be, the entire operation falls apart. Luckily for the Detroit Lions newest offensive lineman, he may already have a leg up on developing a relationship with his teammates.
Taylor Decker hasn't just been sitting around since his career at Ohio State came to an end. He's been working his tail off to stay in playing shape and keep his game at a top level in the last five football-less months. Much of his preparation has come from the O-Line Performance Academy, a place that describes itself as "the country's first training center designed solely around the needs of offensive linemen." The academy is run by former NFL Pro Bowler -- and Ohio State alum -- LeCharles Bentley and focuses not only on increasing strength, speed and agility, but improving technique and even film breakdowns.
In his time at the academy, Decker rubbed shoulders with Lions guard Larry Warford, who also spent some of his offseason at the center. "I like him a lot, and I think it'd be fun to play with a guy, going in, not really knowing everybody, kind of knowing somebody on the team," Decker said recently at a pre-draft event. "I think that'd be a good resource to have."
At the moment, it is unclear where Decker will fit on the line. Some believe he may jump in at left tackle, while many think he's more prepared to play next to Warford on the right side.
Either way, Decker sees his experience with Warford as a benefit and is excited for the future. "I’ve worked out with him, done drills with him, things like that, so that would absolutely be exciting," Decker told reporters via conference call after the first round of the draft.
Warford shares the same enthusiasm. In an interview with Detroitlions.com, he said, "it’s going to be great to get to know him even more than I do now and build that chemistry with him."
With some of that chemistry in place, the Lions hope Decker will hit the ground running when offseason workouts begin again.